How do you know if your employees are in the “burnout" zone? Sometimes a tired employee is still a happy employee. . . one who has worked hard and feels totally satisfied from their accomplishments. Other times, the employee is stressed and barely holding on to their performance levels.
Burnout is when your employees are exhausted and just don't have the energy to do their job with enthusiasm and high levels of performance. The causes can be the job responsibilities, the business structure or even their own personalities can impact stress levels.
In managing employees, you want to stretch them. . . but how much is too much. Here are some ideas to minimize burn out in your team members. Be aware:
Chronic situations that can potentially cause employee burnout:
-Demanding workload - long periods of daily pressure on employees can stress even your best employees. No “down time" in their jobs.
-Morale issues - are you hearing more complaints about work, other employees or not enough time. This is wildfire territory. . . the flames of discontent will rapidly move through your whole team.
-Employees have limited control over their workload - they feel they can't control how they do their job or what they do.
-Downsizing - business changes impact the employees who leave as well as the employees that stay.
-Rapid changes in the business environment - rapid increase in the growth of the business could be an example here.
Common symptoms of employee burnout:
-Making mistakes - previously performance levels were consistent and satisfactory or excellent
-Negative attitude - complaining more often
-Calling in sick or taking more vacation days
-Doesn't have the skill or knowledge levels to meet the demands of the job
-Angry outbursts or sullen
-Employees seem tired and not very responsive.
What can you do?
-Be aware of the situations and symptoms that promote burnout.
-Create time for employees to meet with you to air their concerns.
-Allow the employees to talk with each other, share concerns, and bring back solutions. Of course, only do this if you are open and capable of implementing some of their suggestions. Otherwise, this will back fire on you and cause more stress levels in your employees.
-Take time to evaluate the situation(s) and find suitable solutions that support your employee's concerns. Even in situations where there is minimum control, you can still find a solution that provides some support to your employees.
-Give employees more control over their day-to-day decisions. Even small amounts of autonomy can build confidence and morale in the employees.
-Take time to recognize employees for their hard work?
-Get some help with managing the situation - either your human resources department or other managers.
If the situations mentioned above are occurring, or the employees are eliciting behaviors that indicate burnout, it's time to stop what you are doing and spend time accessing the problem(s).
Managing employees is an everyday occurrence where you make adjustments to meet the current demands from your team.
If the employee perceives that their job is stressful, regardless of the cause, they are not going to be as productive. Maybe the employee is doing something that is causing the stress levels, or maybe you are impacting their stress levels. Are there potential solutions that the company can provide to help decrease the employee's stress levels?
Always do your best in finding solutions for your employees. This way you are improving your skill level in managing employees.
Copyright (c) 2008 Pat Brill
Pat Brill is the author of the blog “Managing Employees" http://www.ManagingEmployees.net You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org